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An Excerpt from GLADIATOR’S REVENGE
Copyright (c) AMY RUTTAN 2010
All Rights Reserved, Ellora's Cave Publishing, Inc.
He vows to endure to be burned, to be bound, to be beaten, and to be killed by the sword.
The Gladiator’s Oath, Satyricon 117.
Rome, 64 A.D.
Being condemned ad ludum venatorium did not ignite his ire. No indeed, dying in the ring with the other gladiators was a worthy end. Dying under the blade in the arena would afford him honor.
Being chained to a platform, naked as the day he was born, did not.
This was how the gods mocked him then—for he had failed to protect his people, his land from the endless tide of Roman invaders.
So here he stood, lashed by the wrists to a platform, being touched, prodded by the very people he loathed. He would spit on them, but he did not relish the taskmaster’s whip this night. For Taranis planned on winning the tournament tomorrow. He planned to prove to his gods he was still, above all, a warrior.
His name meant thunder, and it was how he lived in battle—moving quick like lightning, striking before his foe had a chance to fight back. When his queen fell, he was denied death. Apparently he amused the Roman Governor of Brittania so Taranis was caged like a beast and sent to Mauretania where he was sold into a gladiator school. For too long he had waited until they would be commissioned to perform in Rome so he could implement his perfect plan of revenge.
Revenge against Rome.
Every day since his capture he trained in various arenas across the vast deserts on the other side of the sea. He trained with other slaves using wooden weapons. They rehearsed careful dances that would please the crowds of bloodthirsty Roman spectators. Now the rehearsals were over, this time blood would be spilled for those citizens. All of whom paid good coin to watch the forsaken battle to the death.
At night he was locked away. Imprisoned, and fed only beans, oatmeal and ash. No meat. He was also denied pleasures of the flesh. He could not remember the last time he had the soft enveloping embrace of a woman.
When Nero announced the festival and games Taranis was put on display like an object.
He sneered in distaste as he watched the rich of Rome walk past the gladiators, admiring them. Touching them. Taranis despised them, gluttonous pigs, all of them. The slash of a whip cut through the air followed by a whimper of desperation. He craned his neck to see a group of noxii being herded into a large cage.
Taranis shook his head in disgust. Noxii were criminals, or those deemed criminals by the Emperor. These were the men Taranis pitied the most. They were given nothing to arm themselves against the lions, or even other gladiators. Their lot was to die, to be devoured and maimed by the beasts. Sometimes they were blindfolded, only half of them having weapons. They would fight amongst themselves, never knowing when death would strike.
“An Iceni, well this is most intriguing indeed.”
Taranis stiffened as he realized a group of Romans stood in front of him. He wanted to withdraw, to hide his shame, but his hands were chained. An older Roman woman eyed his body like a hungry she-wolf.
“An Iceni?” she inquired. Her fingers trailed down his bare back, over each lash scar, making his skin crawl.
“From Brittania,” her male companion answered. He was a round bald man who reeked of wine. The woman’s finely arched brows shot up in surprise as she continued to grope Taranis.
“A wildman, a Celt?”
“Yes,” the man said, leaning forward and reading the placard nailed to the front of Taranis’ platform. “Apparently, a trained warrior for the heathen warrior queen, Boudicca.”
On the mention of his fallen queen’s name Taranis’ stomach contorted in a knot. The screams of that fateful battle filling his ears. Visions of his people being butchered taking over his mind, the acrid smell of blood claiming his senses.
“Flavius, let the master bring this one out. I think he will be a great addition to our feast tonight, do you not think?” The she-wolf wrapped her bony fingers around Taranis’ cock, stroking the shaft up and down, teasing the sensitive underside of his head. Against his will, his cock began to harden under her ministrations. His stomach churned—mortified he was being brought to arousal in front of a crowd of his enemy.
“You cannot have him, Vespa,” Flavius said in a disgusted tone. “He is to fight tomorrow. Besides, he is a heathen and you cannot sully yourself with him.”
“I still want to watch him, Flavius. Perhaps he can mount one of our own slaves. Please, let me watch this bronzed wildman make one of our slaves come.”
Taranis growled under his breath but Flavius and his wife did not pay him any regard.
“The master will not let us have his gladiator, Vespa.”
“Pity, he is so strong, so virile,” she whispered in his ear. Her breath was putrid, like rotting flesh. Taranis tried to angle himself away from her, but it was to no avail. Her hands continued on their humiliating exploration of his body. The she-wolf continued to pump his cock, and it had been so long since he had mated with a woman he could not control his ardor. Yet, he was shamed this woman was going to make him come in the public square.
He tried to focus on something besides the crowd of Romans coming to watch his release. His eyes locked on a dark-lashed hazel-eyed woman dressed in noble attire. Her skin was unmarred by the heavy makeup that Vespa and many of the other noble women wore. The freshness of her face, the wide innocence of her eyes told him she was virginal, but eager and curious. Her moist pink lips parted in shock and fascination. As he gazed into her eyes he saw pity. She was mortified by the actions of Flavius and Vespa.
“Daughter, come feel the strength of this gladiator’s sword.”
“No thank you, Mother,” the innocent one said, retreating farther into the shadows, her face full of fear and humiliation. Taranis was shocked to learn this beautiful creature, who showed some semblance of mercy, was the child of these two harridans.
“Vespa, Lavina is not to touch the gladiator either.” The man’s cruel dark eyes rested on him, a remorseless smile on his lips. “She has been promised to a very important man in the Senate. She is not meant for a heathen.”
So the innocent one is for another.
Lavina looked away then. Taranis could tell by the way she wrapped her arms around herself, her face paling, that she did not like this option either. This delicate flower was just as trapped as he was. For once he saw something akin to compassion in a Roman. Taranis wished he could save her from her fate of imprisonment in this den of iniquity.
“Why don’t you come for me, warrior?” Vespa crooned in his ears. She quickened the tempo. The flush of embarrassment stained his cheeks as he did come, his seed staining the post that bound him.
Vespa cackled in delight.
“Come, Vespa, there is a great feast tonight at Marcus’ home.”
Vespa moved her hand away from his cock, with one last hungry look. She pressed her perfumed painted lips against his, thrusting her tongue past her rotting teeth into his mouth. Taranis struggled, but she held his chin, her long talons digging into his flesh.
“I wish you luck, heathen man.” She trailed a finger down his arm before stepping off the platform. Their daughter Lavina, emerged from the shadows and Taranis felt his cock harden again in spite of his disgrace. Lavina was a thing of eretheral beauty and innocence. Her olive skin glowed in the twilight, her vestments clinging to her voluptuous body, her hair shimmering. As she followed her parents she looked over her shoulder at him, her dark brown eyes boring into his with sorrow.
In that moment, as he watched her disappear into the crowds, he wished he possessed her. Even for the night.
It was then he also vowed revenge against her horrible parents who had humiliated him. He would make them pay for their slight against him.